A Timeline of Demi Lovato’s History of Addiction, Recovery, and Her Recent Overdose
Singer Demi Lovato publicized her battles with drug addiction, alcohol abuse, and eating disorders long ago. Her YouTube documentary Demi Lovato: Simply Complicated revealed Lovato’s struggles in full and showed her fans she was committed to getting better.
Shortly after she celebrated six months of sobriety, Lovato released her heartbreaking single “Sober.” The lyrics plainly told listeners she was once again using. Now, a month later, Lovato was hospitalized after reportedly overdosing on heroin.
The following timeline chronicles Lovato’s public struggle with abuse, her road to recovery, and her recent relapses.
She became addicted to cocaine at a young age
In 2013 Lovato revealed to Access Hollywood that she began abusing drugs like cocaine at the young age of 17. While she was working for Disney, recording pop songs, and filming her first documentary Stay Strong, Lovato was still experimenting and recklessly using drugs and alcohol. She found out she had an innate ability to manipulate people, which helped her fly under the radar while getting high.
“I’m very, very good at manipulating people and that was something that I did in my disease, I would manipulate everyone around me. There were times I would just continue to lie, so that everything looked OK on the outside,” she said.
At age 19 Lovato was so reliant on cocaine that she smuggled it onto an airplane to avoid going 30 minutes without the drug. She also showed up with soda bottles of vodka for a 9 a.m. flight out of fear of flying sober. “I was throwing up in the car and this was just to get on a plane to go back to LA to the sober living house that I was staying at,” she said. “I had all the help in the world, but I didn’t want it. When I hit that moment I was like, it’s no longer fun when you’re doing it alone.”
She has been to rehab twice
Lovato’s made her first trip to rehab at 18 after she physically attacked one of her backup dancers on the Disney tour for Camp Rock 2. She apologized, checked into rehab, and cited “physical and emotional issues” that stemmed from “anorexia, bulimia, and cutting.” Lovato’s time in the first treatment center was eyeopening. In 2011 she found out that she was bipolar.
After a year out of rehab, Lovato checked into a sober living home in Los Angeles in 2013 where she stayed for a year. She had continued to use cocaine after rehab and revealed she was abusing OxyContin as well. “I lived fast and I was going to die young … I didn’t think I would make it to 21,” she told American Way.
In October 2017 she released her documentary Simply Complicated which revealed Lovato’s first-time revelations about her addictive personality, her bipolar disorder, and her constant struggles with disorder eating. In March 2018 she celebrated six years of sobriety with a tweet reading “Just officially turned 6 years sober. So grateful for another year of joy, health and happiness. It IS possible.”
Just officially turned 6 years sober. So grateful for another year of joy, health and happiness. It IS possible.
— Demi Lovato (@ddlovato) March 15, 2018
She admitted to relapsing in her song ‘Sober’
Lovato, 25, has been evident about her nearly decade-long struggle with addiction. So when she released her new single “Sober” in June 2018, fans took it as a confession that she relapsed.
“To the ones who never left me / We’ve been down this road before / I’m so sorry, I’m not sober anymore,” she sang in the song off her studio album “Tell Me You Love Me.”
A source told Variety that Lovato is “stable,” while her representatives did not return a comment. Lovato was reportedly celebrating a friend’s birthday in West Hollywood the night before. She posted pictures to a private Instagram she shares with friends in which she seemed happy, TMZ reported.
In a heartwarming show of strength and solidarity, celebrity friends and fans tweeted their prayers and hopes for Lovato as she recovers from her overdose. Friends Brad Paisley, Ariana Grande, Ellen DeGeneres, and Lili Reinhart were among the dozens who sent their love.
My friend @ddlovato is one of the kindest, most talented people I’ve ever met. Praying for her right now, addiction is a terrifying disease. There is no one more honest or brave than this woman.
— Brad Paisley (@BradPaisley) July 24, 2018
If you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse, visit the Substance Abuse National Helpline website or call 1-800-662-HELP (4357). In the event of an emergency, call 9-1-1 immediately.